Physical properties of the sediment directly overlying a gas hydrate reservoir provide important controls on the effectiveness of depressurizing that reservoir to extract methane from gas hydrate as an energy resource. The permeability of overlying sediment determines if a gas hydrate reservoir’s upper contact will provide an effective seal that enables efficient reservoir depressurization. Compressibility, stiffness and strength indicate how overlying sediment will deform as the in situ stress changes during production, providing engineering data for well designs. Assessing these properties requires minimally-disturbed sediment. India’s National Gas Hydrates Program Expedition 2 (NGHP-02) provided an opportunity to study these seal sediment properties, reducing disturbance from gas exsolution and bubble growth by collecting a pressure core from the seal sediment just above the primary gas hydrate reservoir at Site NGHP-02-08 in Area C of the Krishna-Godavari Basin. The effective stress chamber (ESC) and the direct shear chamber (DSC) devices in the suite of Pressure Core Characterization Tools (PCCTs) were used to measure permeability, compressibility, stiffness and shear strength at the in situ vertical stress. Geotechnical properties of the predominantly fine-grained seal layer at in situ vertical stress are in typical clay sediment ranges, with low measured permeability (0.02 mD), high compressibility (Cc = 0.26 – 0.33) and low shear strength (404 kPa). Though pressure and temperature were maintained throughout the collection and measurement process to stabilize gas hydrate, the lack of effective stress in the pressure core storage chamber and the chamber pressurization with methane-free water caused core expansion and gas hydrate in a thin coarser-grained layer to dissolve. The PCCTs can reapply in situ stress with incremental loading steps during a consolidation test to account for sediment compaction. Gas hydrate dissolution can be limited by storing cores just above freezing temperatures, and by using solid spacers to reduce the storage chamber’s free volume.
|Title||Pressure core analysis of geomechanical and fluid flow properties of seals associated with gas hydrate-bearing reservoirs in the Krishna-Godavari Basin, offshore India|
|Authors||Junbong Jang, Sheng Dai, J. Yoneda, William F. Waite, Laura A. Stern, Lee-Gray Boze, Timothy S. Collett, Pushpendra Kumar|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Marine and Petroleum Geology|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Earthquake Science Center; Energy Resources Program; Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center|